Douglas W. Kmiec is to be the new US Ambassador to Malta, the White House has announced.

Mr. Kmiec is currently a professor of constitutional law at the Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, California. Earlier in his career, he served as dean of the Catholic University of America and worked in the Office of Legal Counsel for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Speaking at a ceremony to announce the appointment of Mr. Kmiec and several other new ambassadors, President Obama said, "I am confident that these fine individuals will represent our nation abroad with distinction, and strengthen our diplomatic efforts to meet 21st century challenges. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead."

Mr. Kmiec's nomination will be sent to the US Senate for confirmation, and Mr Kmiec is expected to commence his duties later this year.

According to Wikipedia, Prof Kmiec, a Republican, "caused a stir" when he endorsed Obama last year. He explained in an interview with the Chicago Tribune that: "One of the things I kept discovering...was that Obama was sounding more Catholic than most Catholics I know."

Jason Davis will continue to serve as the embassy's Chargé d'Affaires in the interim.

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